Some good stuff I've noticed over this long holiday weekend.
Much thanks for the usual suspects: good health, good family, etc.
Some techie things that I can only rave about:
Bloglines. I can now track 64 (and growing) feeds and stay current with new music blogs, political blogs, technology blogs, etc. It has replaced my old start page and keeps me well informed. Oh, and it's free.
FireFox. Also free. I don't normally get excited about internet browsers. And that's probably because IE has basically worked all these years. Lately I've taken to hitting F11 to clear out all the clutter of the oversized navigation buttons and creeping toolbars courtesy of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo (each with duplicate features). FireFox just does a better job and I prefer the "tabbed" multi-page navigation over my old habit of having multiple windows open.
Gmail. Free as well. I've had my account for some time now. It smartly groups threads together and is mysteriously free from spam.
Live365. Free... but also offering an add-free subscription service and/or station hosting priveleges. Radio stations run by people who share their music because they love it. For me, it's an affirmation that there are other souls out there who share my taste in music. That's not something one feels with local broadcast radio and corporate broadcasting formats. It's also a nice way to explore genres that I haven't kept up on and hear some real surprises.
A blog entry that caught my attention:
Robert Gable's Aworks had a thoughtful post that touches upon several things that I obsess about. Reflecting on a Thanksgiving weekend spent with family in rural Indiana while tethered to an Ipod playing Alan Hovhaness's "Quartet No.4" Gable mused about religious freedom and plurality in America. He mentions a church in San Francisco named after Saint John Coltrane. I had to check that site out. I don't know about saint-hood, but I can easily understand why Coltrane would inspire something spiritual enough to found a church. This is a church with a house band that models itself after this great master. That could well be worth checking out if I'm ever in San Francisco on a Sunday.
As for Alan Hovhaness: He was at one of the summer Telluride Composer-to-Composer conferences and had a lot of interesting things to say about drawing from a plurality of musical cultures. He was also an extremely disciplined composer. Even while attending the conference he stuck to his 4:00pm - midnight composing routine and even had something performed that he'd written just days before in this manner. I was saddened when he passed away in 2000. I suspect there's a vast wealth of music from that man that has yet to be experienced.
And some things I've heard recently on the internet radio:
KPOO FM. This is a stream I located via the church of Saint John Coltrane. I caught a bit of the evening jazz program tonight that really hit the spot. Some old Geri Allen Trio material I hadn't heard in a long time (Geri Allen was also at Telluride one year) along with some great Dave Holland big band and an awesome track from the David S. Ware quartet. My esteem for pianist Matthew Shipp grows every time I hear him.
One of the electronica stations featured some Secret Chiefs 3 that was new to me. It was excellent. I need to hear more from that group.
Kyle Gann's Postclassic station has finally worked up my appetite for the wonderful music of John Luther Adams. He has a new book and accompanying CD that I may have to ask for for xmas.
Another station featured a great piece that is always welcome in my ears: The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives. Ives is actually featured on several stations oriented around modern classical music.
So there you have it. Good health, family and stimulating music/ideas. Things worthy of thanks.